Monday, October 24, 2005

The Miers Headache

My head aches.

The more that I read about the Harriet Miers nomination and the comments from the various factions in the debate, the more I am convinced that the White House and those who advise the president did not do their homework and are afraid of an honest debate on the role of the Supreme Court.

When I heard that Ms. Miers had signed a pro-life questionnaire in 1989, I was pleased for this seemed to underscore her pro-life sympathies. Then I began to read quotes from the White House second guessing the commentaries and explaining that this information was not that important. Even Miers herself seems to be afraid to touch upon the abortion question.

Now it is true that what one promised in 1989 may not be one's position in 2005. We have seen prominent national figures flip on the issue of abortion when they decided to run for the presidency. Everyone from Dick Gephardt to Al Gore to Dick Durbin at one time signed a pro-life statement in support of a Human Life Amendment. It seems that folks in Washington and the Beltway live in their own world.

However, for the president's men to tout Ms. Miers as pro-life and then not defend her support for an HLA as principled, suggests that they just don't get it. I know it sounds condescending but being pro-life and against abortion does not require one to have a particular judicial philosophy. One can believe in a "living constitution" or be a "strict constructionist" and still agree that there is nothing in the Constitution or in the law that allows for the killing of children, born or unborn. I am also concerned that the White House does not want to be upfront on the issue. Clinton's appointees to the high court were both open and notorious liberals in favor of Roe v. Wade. They made no apologies about it. The Republican leadership in Washington should stop hiding behind this notion that one cannot have an opinion on Roe. In my humble opinion, any judge worth his or her salt knows that Roe was and is bad law.

So back to Ms. Miers. The conversation among conservatives is all over the board.Those opposing her are very concerned about her credentials and her judicial philosophy. Those who support her challenge those who oppose her and demand that people place trust in the president. Those who support her extol her Christian credentials and her pro-life position. But that should not be the basis for supporting any candidate to the court. The candidate should be qualified to sit on the bench AND believe in the sanctity of all innocent human life, the rule of law and the interpretive role of the court.

I am very concerned that this nominee does not have the ability to articulate what is needed. I have been silent this last week watching and waiting to hear something to assure me that she understands. While she is probably a bright lawyer and an excellent political person ( witness her bar association and law office involvement), I wonder if she has what is needed. Perhaps an appointment on the federal bench would be an appropriate place for her.

I think however that she and the president should consider that this nomination is not gaining traction. Three weeks later and she is not impressing the leadership in the Senate or in the conservative movement.

As I said in the beginning, this nomination is proving to be a headache for the president, the conservatives and the country.

I think it is time for the nominee to withdraw her name from consideration.

I also think it is time for the president to nominate someone who can defend his or her philosophy intelligently, articulate the role of court in order to educate the country and stand up for the inherent right to life of all innocent human persons, born and unborn.


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